15 victims lose $12k in scams involving Carousell

At least 15 victims have lost more than $12,000 in total this month to scammers posing as buyers on e-commerce platform Carousell.

The ruse sees scammers expressing interest in buying items and then requesting to pay the sellers via CarouPay to the victims' PayNow accounts, said the police yesterday.

The victims then receive an e-mail purportedly sent from Carousell indicating that payment has been made. The e-mail instructs the victims to access their bank accounts via a phishing link or phishing PayNow QR code provided within the e-mail to receive payment.

Upon clicking these links or scanning the QR codes, victims are redirected to fraudulent websites impersonating bank websites, and tricked into providing their banking details and one-time passwords (OTPs) to receive payment.

They would realise they had been scammed only after noticing unauthorised transactions in their bank accounts, police said.

The police added that CarouPay, now known as Carousell Protection, will never require sellers to confirm payment via e-mail or to reveal any online banking login credentials through third-party websites.

Those on e-commerce sites, such as Carousell, and online marketplaces should always verify the buyer's profile by checking the account verification status, creation date, reviews and ratings, the police said.

They should not click on links provided in unsolicited e-mails and text messages, and when redirected to what appears to be a bank website, they should check that the address is the bank's known website address before entering any information.

They should always verify the authenticity of the information in the e-mails and messages with the platform or banks if in doubt.

Police said members of the public should also not disclose personal or Internet banking details and OTPs to anyone, and fraudulent transactions should be reported to the banks immediately.

For more information on scams, visit the Scam Alert website (www.scamalert.sg) or call the Anti-Scam Hotline on 1800-722-6688.

Anyone with information on such scams can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online (https://www.police.gov.sg/iwitness).

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2022, with the headline 15 victims lose $12k in scams involving Carousell. Subscribe